With less than 100 days to go until the General Election, the long campaign to win your vote, a seat in the House of Commons and the opportunity to form a Government has well and truly begun. Polls are showing that this is likely to be one of the most exciting and twist-filled elections for a generation with noone clear about who will emerge victorious on May 8th. The implications could be huge. It is not beyond belief to imagine that we may have seen the last of a single-party government for quite some time as coalitions are likely to be more frequent – both out of choice and necessity. Across Europe we have seen the emergence of both more right and left wing political groups with the most recent being the emergence and election of the Syriza party in Greece. History has shown us that after recessions, people tend to shift further right or left of centre than they were before – a response to difficult economic times and a desire to find a “better” solution. Miliband has been urged to “shift” to the left as members of his party believe that they will be able to replicate the success of the Syriza party in Greece. The Conservative party are being encourage to shift right in order to counter the pressure that UKIP are putting on normal Tory core voters.
Neither main party wants a coalition – a majority Government is the aim although both would form coalitions if it put their leaders in Number Ten. Are coalition Governments stronger or weaker than single party Governments?
The argument for coalition Governments is that as they represent a broader spectrum of people and a wider range of views, therefore making them more democratic and fairer. In the UK, where coalition Governments are rare, there are just two main parties (The Conservative Party and the Labour Party) who could form a Government, so a majority Government will only be made by one of the two. A Coalition Government offers a chance for supporters of other parties to be represented in Government. When voters believe smaller parties might form a part of the Government and might have a chance of political power, they may be more likely to vote for a party they really feel represents them rather than just choosing between the two main parties. The other advantage to a coalition Government is that as a wider range of opinions are involved; policies are more likely to be debated with various points of view considered before policy is implemented.
Coalition Governments can have smoother continuity in administration as they tend to represent a wider set of views and reduce the risk of adversarial politics developing.
Coalition Goverments can be considered less democratic as the smaller parties can barter for more support than they have achieved proportionally. This means that a party with little popular support could impose its views and policies on the majority and that they are offered positions they have not achieved as the Lib Dems did in 2010. Another issue with Coalitions is that the manifestos presented pre-elections are rendered mostly irrelevant and unrealistic and there are often the basis for earning people’s votes in the first place. Coalitions generally take a short-term point of view as they cannot count on being re-elected in the same form again. The biggest risk with a coalition Government is that they are unstable and can trundle along without achieving very much as political partners may fundamentally disagree with each other ideologically.
Whether or not you agree with Coalition Governments or not, we are likely to see more of them in the UK given the every-changing political climate.
All views and ideas represented in this blog post are exclusive to Resham, and do not represent those of any other third party.